The California Chaparral Institute's Chaparral Naturalist Certification program strives to inspire a love for nature by creating a diverse community of nature advocates AND to help the public better understand and appreciate the chaparral, California's most extensive plant community. Our program is unique in that it focuses on chaparral and helping you communicate your knowledge in more effective ways.
However, training people in natural history, while a benefit, is just one goal of the course. We also want to create permanent advocates for nature so that all who take the course are willing to inspire anyone they may encounter. Rather than passively listening to experts, the course is organized in small, interactive groups that participate in collaborative learning experiences designed to enhance the learning process, foster friendships, and encourage volunteering in the newfound community of nature advocates.
We strongly believe those who do the teaching do the learning. So be prepared to actively participate in the adventure.
Once you have learned how to engage and inspire others in nature, you'll be encouraged to share your connection with the natural world with others. Our training can also help you to become volunteers with one of our partners such as the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and the San Dieguito River Park.
A key goal of the Chaparral Naturalist Program is to expand the demographic of those participating in naturalist and docent training programs. We will pursue this goal by recruiting a wide diversity of students, post-graduates, and families from throughout the community. With the collaborative model the program will employ, we'll leverage the environmental wisdom of participating elders to inspire younger generations. We believe the environmental community can no longer just talk to itself, but must reach out to new groups to ensure nature continues to have a voice in the future.
Our long term vision is to create a self sustaining Chaparral Naturalist program that will be organized around each watershed in California that will help us achieve our four main goals:
1. Care. Establish personal connections and a sense of care for nature, specifically the chaparral. 2. Engage. Encouraging the use of engaging, meaningful interpretation in environmental education (instead of lecturing). 3. Diversity. Expanding and diversifying our audience. 4. Permanence. Inspiring those we share our enthusiasm with to become permanent Nature Advocates.
OUR 2018 CHAPARRAL NATURALIST CLASS -Applications are now Closed-
WHEN? Eight Saturday mornings in starting in February 24, 2018 and a final, all day field trip. Attendance to all eight classes will be required to receive your Chaparral Naturalist Certification. Make-up dates may be available. Dates: 2/24, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17, 3/24, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21.
WHERE? Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, 8833 Harmony Grove Road, Escondido, CA 92029
WHAT? We will be creating an interactive naturalist training adventure different from any other you have encountered. Instead of the traditional "sit and get" (sitting at a desk and passively listening), Chaparral Naturalists will actively engage in learning about links and patterns between plants, animals, climate, and fire (not just parts and pieces). Most importantly participants will learn how to inspire a love for nature!
WHY? To become a coach for nature at the Elfin Forest or elsewhere. Chaparral Naturalists will learn how to guide others through engaging activities along the trail with the ultimate goal of inspiring them to inspire more people to love nature. Inspire Others to Inspire.
COST? We ask for a $60 donation to help us cover printing, coffee, and bagels :) If this is really beyond your budget, let us know and we will try to come up with a creative way to help you.
WHO? Those who love nature and want to learn how to inspire others to feel the same, 16 and over. https://form.jotformeu.com/73065704961358https://form.jotformeu.com/73065704961358
2018 Chaparral Naturalist Students please make your $60 course donation by click the button to the right. Thanks!
In the video below, Dr. Drew Lanham, an ornithologist at Clemson University, provides an important message about why it's critical for us to help diversify the environmental community.
Our 2017 Chaparral Naturalists!
INSPIRE with the #greenchaparral Marble
An essential part of our program is to create lifelong Nature Advocates who strive to inspire others to love and help protect nature as well. As a symbol or talisman of that effort, Chaparral Naturalists pass along a #greenchaparral marble to those they meet who also express a sincere passion for the natural environment and the creative spirit it fosters. The marble is shared with the understanding that the recipient will pass it along to another who communicates a willingness to become a yet another Nature Advocate.
Passport to the Chaparral
The Passport to the Chaparral is a wonderful way to discover the plants and animals found in California's most extensive ecosystem. Our first Passport edition focuses on the watersheds of Escondido, California which include the Escondido Creek and the San Dieguito River. Our Passports can be found in the Interpretive Center at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve in Escondido and at various other natural areas throughout the greater Escondido area. You can obtain one by mail by clicking the $2.50 donation button below.
By completing 10 of the 20 suggested activities, you can submit your experiences to us and receive a Passport Certificate and a Chaparral Pocket Naturalist Guide (shown above right).
Part of the Passport program is our annual Chaparral Art and Writing Contest. If you select this as one of your activities, please submit your entry by January 15 to us via email or regular mail: California Chaparral Institute, PO Box 545, Escondido, CA, 92033. Take a photo, draw a picture, or write a creative essay related to the chaparral environment within the watersheds surrounding Escondido.
Obtain a Passport to the Chaparral to discover the watersheds of Escondido by mail by clicking the $2.50 donation button to the right.
Please see our other Nature Education pages for additional information on other programs